Teacher Educators' experience and use of reflection in the Lifelong Learning Sector

Grant type: Developing Pedagogy and Practice 2010/11
Round: Pedagogy and Practice Jan 2011
Amount awarded £2,000.00
Completed: January 2012
Leader(s): Ms Liz McKenzie
Organisation: University of Plymouth
Contact Email: liz.mckenzie@plymouth.ac.uk
Contact phone: 01752 585438
Start Date: 1 March 2011
End Date: 31 December 2011
Interim report received: 16 November 2011
Final report received: 11 January 2012

This project builds on previous research undertaken with trainee teachers in the Lifelong Learning sector which explored their experience of reflection of (McKenzie, 2010a, 2010b).  The project aimed to investigate the experience and use of reflection of teacher educators within the Lifelong Learning sector and how they introduce and support reflection with trainee teachers.  It used a sequential, mixed methods design, employing a questionnaire and a semi-structured interview.

Twenty four teacher educators for the Lifelong Learning sector, from a partnership network within the South West, completed a questionnaire about their own experience and use of reflection during a staff development session.  Eight experienced teacher educators were then selected to participate in a semi-structured interview. 

Findings indicated that the majority of teacher educators had been introduced to reflection whilst gaining their own teaching qualification or other academic study.  They aimed to introduce reflection as early as possible within the course, often starting with Kolb and Schön, and these along with Brookfield and Gibbs, were the most frequently mentioned theorists for use with students.  While the teacher educators use a range of theories and models with their students, Brookfield’s critical lenses were the most frequently discussed technique, both for developing their own personal reflection and that of their students.  There are consistencies in the ways in which the teacher educators introduce and support reflection with their trainees and some sharing of resources/experiences takes place, but the interviews suggested several areas for collaboration which could form the focus for future staff development.